Well it has been an interesting week this week, as most weeks are. Wanted to take some time to talk about quilt/quilting classes. There are really so many of them out there and they are being taught by people who fancy themselves teachers because they have made a quilt! Some of them haven't even made an entire quilt, but they have made quilt tops. Many of them are teaching classes and all of their quilts have been quilted by others and usually even their binding has been put on the quilts by others. Now there is nothing wrong with them wanted to share what they know. My feeling is they should only teach what they really, really know and understand. I know everyone has to start somewhere. That somewhere can been by doing a demonstration at your local guild. Don't have a guild, then talk to your local quilt shop owner and see if she will set up a demonstration day, on a day that she is having a big sale or is involved in a shop hop. (I've actually done this a couple of times.) The owners are typically so happy to have someone to attract more customers into the shop and in addition if you will go over what you are going to be demonstrating with the owner and make very sure that she has all of the supplies that you are using in your demo. You can even talk with her about what she would love for you to demo so she can sell more of that particular item. These events are a win/win/win situation. Noone loses. The shop owner can get more customers into her shop and have the opportunity to sale more items. If she stocks up on what you are demonstrating she even stands the chance of making even more sales there. You get to practice your teaching skills and present yourself to lots of people as a teacher so you have done a lot of advertising for yourself at no monitary cost and the customer has the opportunity to learn something new at no cost to her/him! Now where is the downside to this? Sorry I can't find one!
Well maybe there is one downside...........you have to know what you are going to teach! It is also helpful to bring along the items you will need for demonstrating your project. If you have never completed this particular project, do not try to teach others how to do it! Please, it is an exercise in frustration and futility when you are not able to answer questions they may have about how to do something. It is not likely they will want to consider taking any other classes from you.
I will never understand why anyone would even try to teach something they have never completed, but some people look at it and say, oh, it can't be that hard, I'm sure I can figure it out. Sorry I'm not paying you so you can figure it out on my time and possibally give me wrong answers.
Well enough about teachers who don't know what they are doing..........Let's get down to the students. I've been there on both sides of the fence and I guess I've made every mistake that it is possible to make and I do have to say that I have tried to learn from at least the majority of those mistakes.
As a student, please listen when the teacher is talking. If you want to make notes then be sure and have your pencil and paper ready to take notes. It's not anyone's responsibility to bring things you may need to a class except yours. If there was a list of what to bring, please be sure you have all the items on the list before class time. It's really nice to get there a few minutes early to set up what you need if that is allowed by the store and the space is available. Sometimes classes are back to back and this is not possible.
Please read the directions that are handed out! The teacher may make a statement and either she may "say it wrong" or you may "hear it wrong" and then there is a miscommunication and this can spell disaster to a quilt top! If the directions say cut something at 2 1/4" and for some reason you have 2 1/2" stuck in your brain then there will be a problem. Now that problem is easily solved by cutting off the extra 1/4", but if the directions say 2 1/2" and you cut at 2 1/4" then that is not as easily fixed! This could present a big problem. If the directions are handed to you in written form and the teacher says something else or you hear something else, you need to ask. Sometimes the teacher will make a statement that the written directions say "............." but that is a mistake and instead do "............" be sure and make that note on the directions that you have been given so there is no mistaking what you are suppose to do! Ask for clarification if you have questions. Good teachers do not mind answering questions about a project.
Things that students may not want to ask and likely should not ask, is "can't I make this block doing by doing it this way instead of what it shows here?" That would be your choice and yours alone. It would not be up to the teacher to figure out what size you need to cut each piece of fabric if you decide to do that block a different way. You can do whatever you want, but don't ask the teacher to teach everyone else in class the project as she has it down and then teach you a different method. That is a different class and you should have signed up for that if you want to do everything that way!
Okay enough of my rant on those things.
Another thing to take into consideration when signing up and attending classes. As with anything wear layered clothing so you can take something off if you are hot, or can put that sweater or long sleeved shirt on if you are cold! Everyone hates to be uncomfortable when they are trying to work and unfortunately people like different temps. Also, toss a bottle of water or another drink of your choice into your bag so you don't have to go hunting something to drink! It's a good ideal to make sure that all bottles have screw lids and if the bottle is not in your hand it should have the lid on to avoid accidental spills. They can happen! It's also really nice to have a snack if you get hungry. Just a pack of crackers or a candy bar or pastry if the class isn't too long and if it is long you may be told to bring a sack lunch and you will be given time to eat that at some point in the class. Be sure to bring a wipe of somekind to clean your hands after you eat so you don't accidentally get a grease spot on your fabric!
It's wonderful to chat with those who are working next to you or at your table, but that chatting should only be taking place when the teacher is not talking. Be kind to your classmates and don't talk during instruction time so they can hear what they have paid to learn.
The most important part is to have fun! Regardless of what happens..............you came to learn something and if that something is that the person that sat next to you in class has a really dry sense of humor and really made you roll on the floor laughing during the class then you have learned something! It isn't all about sewing. Sometimes it's about making friends and sharing.
I hope you all have a wonderful day! Learn something new today!
I have to add a little update on this post. This post was actually written several weeks ago. It was far before I took a class at the Sewing & Quilting Expo with Lisa Sipes and this post has absolutely nothing to do with that particular class. I frequently write several post when I have time and just keep those in reserve for the times when life is crazy and I didn't get anything done toward my blog that week. Well this has been one of those weeks. It's spring and I do an enormous amount of gardening and canning, etc not to mention, life goes on, so I didn't get to write anything this week, so I'm pulling out one of my drafts. Less you think I am specifically speaking of one person or one class, I am not!!! One thing that I really wanted to say though about classes and make it a point to say several times, be friendly and have fun! Don't throw off on anyone's work....You can meet some wonderful people in quilt classes and they can become life-long friends. My friend Kay and I met at a class and we have been friends since then. My friend Nita and I met in a class and we went on to start the local quilt guild. My friend Emily I met in a quilt class and I could go on and on!!! You can meet wonderful people where ever you go. Be happy, be friendly and enjoy your class. Who knows, you may learn a lot more than you ever expected!